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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL p r e S c h o o l  ac t i v i t i e S support the kinesthetic sense ›   put movement together with music. add a rhythmic  beat to the action. Swaying, hand motions, and  creative movement are stimulating to many parts  of the brain simultaneously. ›   include opportunities that promote balance, such as  putting on dress-up clothes and walking on a painted  line, a log, or a low balance beam. play games that  have children stand on one foot, put one arm on the  fl oor, and other activities that rely on body balance. ›   provide opportunities to swing and slide to help  children develop control of their bodies as they move.  hold hands and sway back and forth and side to side.  Move in a circle or spin slowly around. Bend down  and jump up. turn around with arms in the air. Fly like  a bird or a plane. ›   use creative movement exercises freely. utilize the  many creative movement songs and videos available  to help children learn where their bodies are in space. ›   teach simple dances. play lively music, and let the  children create their own dance. ›   use tumbling mats for somersaults and body rolls.  offer gymnastics and acrobatics on rainy days. ›   run with kites or paper plates on a string. play sports  that have children swinging a bat or a golf club,  kicking a ball, or running bases. ›   challenge children to use their bodies to form letters  or numbers. cloSinG thouGhtS Children are born with sensors that send signals to the brain that enable sight, smell, taste, hearing, and a kinesthetic sense of where their body is and what position it is in as it moves. The senses are the only way our brains have to receive outside information. Children must gain experiences with each as well as gain an understanding of how to recognize and use their perceptions. Children accomplish this learning through opportunities that teach them how to interpret the sensations. Sensory input is necessary for physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth. All of a child’s abilities are related to the use of his senses. When planning an enriching environment, make sure you vary the sensory input offered daily. It is easy just to have children listening to the same music or listening to surrounding talk and naturally occurring environmental sounds. It doesn’t take much to provide a variety of colorful toys and books for children to see. It does take time, however, to ensure that sensory offerings are balanced and there are daily opportunities to hear new sounds or variations of known sounds. It does take planning to point out multiple, minute details for children to see, to enhance the smells available, and to discuss a variety of textures and tastes. The effort taken to enhance the sensory environment is well worth it. The reward is children who are constantly engaged in extending their sensory learning and curious about the world around them. 24  c h a p t e r   2 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL